Something new in retro … mobile

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Published on : 2/15/2020 – 08:41

A Bugatti soared to 4 million euros, and more and more Chinese collectors! The Rétromobile show, the annual meeting of the vintage car, has just closed its doors in Paris.

Collectors of vintage cars, there are all over the world. On the forecourt of the Parc des Expositions de Paris, a French collector did not even take the time to return to see the stands, he is already showing his latest restored model to another German collector. The treasure, a Samson car from 1922. The model is English and corresponds to the pre-war cycle car: ” This kind of cycle-car, explains this French enthusiast, has been used by many people who could not afford to buy a car. Before the war, only the very wealthy had one. It’s very interesting to speak with this German gentleman. He has the same model as me with an additional hood, he was able to show it to me on a photo. Like all collectors, we spend our time browsing the purses in search of spare parts. We are still missing one! I’m just back from the Netherlands and I’m about to go to England.

The English, masters of spare parts

The English have been strong this year with many models on display. But this is nothing new. In general, the British are famous for their historic models (Aston Martin, Bentley, etc.) but their real added value remains the know-how in terms of spare parts.

Success born at the same time as factories and mass production. And, if they remain the biggest market in the world it is thanks to a practice that makes them successful: whatever the era, factories still open or closed, the English archived and preserved the original mussels of each car part.

The Arab and Chinese offensive

This year again the Americans occupy the top of the table of buyers. Emiratis remain big buyers. But given the number of German, Russian and French journalists present at the show, Europeans are not to be outdone. However, as every year since 2015, it is the Chinese who show their willingness to invest in prestige models. Fortunately for them, the buyers arrived in Paris before the airports closed. It is still too early to speak of the true effects of the coronavirus epidemic. Sylvain Devaux, one of the greatest French experts in the retromobile even notes that despite the economic battle which opposed them to Washington, the Chinese continued to invest: ” These new big buyers, Chinese or Arabs, believe me, he says with a smile that says a lot, are not there to buy 2CVs! They are more financial than collectors in the sense that we traditionally hear it. They do not have a mechanic or restaurateur approach, but prove to be fine financial strategists. In fact, he adds, these large buyers are capitalizing on the investment of large luxury cars, Ferraris, Porsches. Very beautiful models that will increase in value and that will sell very well, in two or three years, at auction.

Brexit, collectors ready to pay the bills

4.6 million euros! The record for this 2020 edition for a 1932 Bugatti. We are told that a good year has come. But let there be no mistake, if there is one sector of the economy that is undergoing the news of the world it is that of the vintage car.

Last January, the Americans, champions in the matter, paid the price. They who were in the middle of the trade war with China recorded a fall of 3% in sales at the big annual parade of Arizona. In Europe, Brexit obliges, this exit of the English from the European Union will increase the bills.

I order all of my parts from England, and of course I expect to pay customs duties, explains this French collector. But what do you want, these are the best. They have everything and they are original parts and when you want to run your old car, you are ready for anything. On top of that, they deliver fast. I receive my packages the day after my orders, it’s even faster than with any French manufacturer! As in all areas, there is counterfeiting often coming from Asia, so by ordering my goods in England, I am sure of the quality, I might as well pay the price.

The time is for the preservation of the environment and certain ecological changes can annoy …

The collection goes green

Fashion with less polluting engines. The novelty of the market consists of grafting electricity on old petrol models. Some collectors cry out in sacrilege: ” It’s absurd ! breathed a French expert. By mixing the mechanics, you distort the model and our passion for vehicles at the same time. In reality, come to think of it, it has nothing to do with the philosophy of the collector. It’s a bit like selling you a sandwich and saying it’s luxury food. Both things are respectable but they don’t have the same components and traditions.

The retromobile, a game of checkers

Another big change in the field of vintage car collection… the arrival of collectors! Unprecedented, there have never been so many registrations in France for retromobile amateur clubs. The movement is noticeable in the rest of Europe, these ladies no longer hesitate to appear solo, but a majority still joins the passion of a husband or a family member. Besides, in the aisles of the Paris exhibition this year, the regulars of the show have never seen so many visitors …

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